Thursday, April 26, 2012

Suitheism: An Introduction.

I am a Suitheist. A Suitheist, according to Traeonna A. R. Wagener, is a "person who believes themselves to be a god, but does not deny the existence of other gods." Suitheists, in other words, are people who worship themselves. (Which, by the way, does not mean that they demand worship from others. Suitheism is not narcissism. A spiritually-advanced Suitheist will have no need for the adulation of other people)

There are different varieties of Suitheism. Some Suitheists are elitists, who believe that some people are more godlike than others. I, personally, am an egaltarian Suitheist. I believe that godhood is the natural right of all, & indeed, our inherent state & condition, which can be discovered by awakening to our inner consciousness.

Another distinction in Suitheism is that of "light" and "dark". Many Suitheists identify as Satanists or practitioners of the Left-Hand Path. They use "dark" imagery of devils, demons or vampires to symbolize their personal ideals & aspects of Selfhood. But there are also some Suitheists who prefer a New Age approach, using "lighter" imagery & concepts. (Adeeb Shabazz, author of What If God Were One Of Us? is an example of this.) I, personally, prefer a blended approach which might be considered "Dark New Age". I enjoy some of the "dark" subculture elements such as Gothic & Industrial music, but I also question the assumptions which underly the very distinction between "dark" & "light". To me, they are just different aspects of Life. And it is Life itself that I worship, in its very direct, experiential manifestation as the living Being who I Am.

Suitheism is a New Religious Movement. Indeed, it may be considered as the most radical of new religions, since it challenges what in traditional religions is the most unspeakable, horrifying taboo: the deification of the individual self. Why is this such a taboo? Why is it considered so horrible to experience divinity in and as oneself, rather than in some other mode?

To help answer this question, I will sort traditional religions into roughly two categories:

  1. Heterolatry: The worship of something considered different or separate from oneself.
  2. Collectivist Nondualism: The Divine is not considered strictly separate from self, but the individual self is seen as a lesser unit immersed in a larger whole, & therefore subordinate to that Whole. (You are God, or at least a piece of It -- but the majority rules.)

The former, Heterolatry, is most familiar to us now in the Western monotheisms, but also embraces the "hard polytheistic" forms of Paganism. Collectivist Nondualism is most prevalent in the Eastern religions & the New Age. There are some hybrids of these two modes, such as inclusive monotheism, animism & panentheism, in which there are different divine or spiritual entities, but they are not strictly separate. The various entities overlap to some degree, but there is generally something regarded as bigger or greater than the individual person, to which one must render worship, obedience & service.

Heterolatry, then, involves the worship of a centralized, higher authority, a divine monarchy or oligarchy. Collectivist Nondualism involves subordination of self to a collective whole. Both of these, obviously, correspond closely to the types of social organization found in traditional human cultures, prevalent throughout the world prior to the rise of Western liberalism. It is no wonder that these beliefs are so firmly entrenched. Concepts of the Divine parallel, in the words of Robert Wright in The Evolution of God, "the facts on the ground".

By contrast, Suitheism places Divinity, & the source of life's value, squarely within each individual, qua individual & not merely as part of a larger whole. In this mode, Suitheism is a threat to the traditional concepts of external Deity, & the social & religious hierarchies which embody them. Throughout history, the different religions have been rivals to each other; but with Suitheism, each person can be a rival to God or the gods. That's a bit more rivalry, I imagine, than our social memetic complexes would want to deal with, which is why Suitheist notions have been so ruthlessly suppressed.

As a Suitheist, I believe in religious freedom & tolerance, while also recognizing the inherent threat which my faith poses to traditional beliefs. That balance, between human tolerance & natural opposition, is one which each Suitheist must negotiate. I find the concept of the Marketplace of Ideas most fruitful in this regard, since a marketplace allows for vigorous, creative competition in a relatively peaceful setting. I'm not out to convert everyone & change their views, but to present an alternative, which others may take up as they please: a new product on the spiritual market.

And the best thing about it is -- it's free. All you need to do to become a Suitheist is to decide that the concept makes sense to you, & put it to work in your own life. You create your own meaning & value, your own personal philosophy, and your own rituals & symbols if you wish for them.

Suitheism, then, as the religion of the individual, can be customized & tailor-made to suit the individual practitioner. Its purpose, like that of all religion & spirituality, is to promote one's inner sense of meaning & value. In Suitheist philosophy, the source of such meaning & value is the individual, & the place to find it is within oneself & the experiences of one's own life. It is, of course, possible to learn from others & gain inspiration from what they have thought & done, but the ultimate spiritual authority is always oneself. That is the bedrock to which one must always return, the volcanic core of the sacred mountain of Being.

In this blog, I will provide some of my ideas to help stimulate your creativity & thought process. If you find what I say interesting or useful, you can take it from there. I will also discuss Suitheism from a general philosophical point of view, its relationship to other philosophies, & Suitheist approaches to various questions & issues.

8 comments:

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  2. Really identified to this...thanks for the insight!

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  3. This... Kind of hit me at my core, honestly. I've had a similar idea for a long time but didn't really know how to describe it. I'll definitely be doing more research!

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  4. This... Kind of hit me at my core, honestly. I've had a similar idea for a long time but didn't really know how to describe it. I'll definitely be doing more research!

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    1. Hi Damien. I just got back on the internet after several years hiatus. Glad to see that you liked my post! Hopefully I will have a chance to post some more soon.

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  5. A friend found me mentioned on this blogpost and sent it to me! I wish the fullness of or original definition was more broadly shared on the internet, but at least the one line definition has survived the ages.

    This was an interesting read. I always like to read how others interpret suitheism and how it applies to their own paradigms.

    (Since AllExperts, the link you used, is now defunct, I can be found at Traeonna.com).

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